A Rewarding Experience: The CCCA Mentoring Program

  • May 26, 2022
  • Gennady Ferenbok

A Rewarding Experience: The CCCA Mentoring Program

Mentoring is more important than ever in today’s new working reality, where competition is high and human connection may be low. Well-executed mentoring programs – like the one offered by the CCCA – promote feelings of connectedness and empowerment to help you succeed.

Mentoring relationships are as rewarding for mentors as they are for mentees. A powerful part of the process is learning with someone who has a different life story than you. We spoke with Gennady Ferenbok, a seasoned mentor, about how this is true.

If you are inspired and wish to take part, you can find out more about the program and register on the CCCA's website. This program is free for regular members.

Let’s start with your current role.

Gennady: I’m the VP, General Counsel & Secretary at Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Limited. In this role, I lead the legal, risk and security teams of the independent, family-owned company that makes, distributes, merchandises and sells some of Canada’s favourite beverages. I’ve been with Coke Canada Bottling for 3.5 years.

Why did you enrol in the CCCA’s Mentoring Program?

Gennady: Being an in-house lawyer has a host of benefits and challenges as compared to working at a law firm. One of the challenges is finding the sort of community of lawyers that most law firms offer

The CCCA helps in-house lawyers maintain this sense of community with their legal peers that is harder to find outside of firms. The CCCA Mentoring Program in particular has allowed me to build relationships with newer lawyers and strengthen my own sense of community with the broader legal profession.

What was your experience with the program?

Gennady: I’ve been a CCCA mentor for a number of years and have been partnered with many interesting mentees. No two mentees have been alike, which is one of the reasons the program is so appealing to me.

I’ve helped newer lawyers think through legal and non-legal problems, actively plan their career progression, and even decide to leave the practice to pursue other interests. Helping lawyers take a step back from the often stressful day-to-day, reminding them that they are not alone and helping them consider the bigger picture have been extremely rewarding.

What are your takeaways from these experiences?

Gennady: Working with mentees not only allows me to stay close to the profession, but it helps me put my own career into perspective. It’s easy to forget the concerns that most of us had when we were new to the practice. Some of those concerns go away with time, while others just evolve. Keeping in touch with mentees reminds me where I’ve been, which has been helpful in planning where I’d like to go.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

Gennady: While I’m clearly a supporter of the CCCA Mentoring Program, early in my career a senior lawyer suggested that I seek mentorship from a non-lawyer. The idea sounded counter intuitive given my somewhat narrow desire at the time to grow as a lawyer. However, I found someone senior in my organization who I admired and began to develop an informal mentorship relationship where topics particular to legal practice were rarely discussed. Each of us has changed jobs numerous times since then, but the relationship has endured and I’m without doubt a better lawyer – and, more importantly, person – today because of it.